UGA scientists get grant to study coastal organism - FOX 35 News Orlando

UGA scientists get grant to study coastal organism

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - University of Georgia researchers have received a grant to study why a particular single-celled organism explodes in coastal waters in the southeastern U.S.

The university says the $727,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will allow researchers to study Thaumarchaeota. Scientists are puzzled by the explosive bloom each year around the Fourth of July that affects nitrogen availability and the fertility of coastal waters.

They want to determine why the organism blooms to such an extent every year, whether its bloom is limited to the Southeast and what the environmental impact is.

James Hollibaugh, principal investigator for the project, says the organism is one of the most abundant in the world and plays an important role in the earth's nitrogen cycle, yet very little is known about it.

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